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Mary Gustanski

Delphi Automotive

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Vice President of Engineering and Program Management, Delphi Automotive
Troy, Mich.
Age: 53
Education: B.S., mechanical engineering, and M.S., manufacturing management, General Motors Institute

What attracted you to the auto industry? I like vehicles. I like to drive. One minute past 16, I wanted my driver's license.

First automotive job: Associate project engineer at General Motors' AC Spark Plug plant in Flint, Mich., in 1985

What is the major challenge you've faced in your career? That first step from a middle-manager role to an executive role.

Who has had the biggest influence on your career? My mother. She never finished her college education, but she ended up with motherhood and having kids at home. My dad traveled; he made automation equipment. Sometimes he was gone months at a time. My mother [thought], "Well, OK, I can handle this. I can handle the house. If something breaks, we're going to deal with it." I was the oldest, so she would say, "Mary, you're good at this stuff. You can do this; you can fix it." I can tell you stories from the time I was probably 8 of taking the toilet bowl apart.

Tell us about your family. I have two brothers, both younger. Both of my brothers went to General Motors Institute. I have six nieces and nephews who have me on speed dial.

What's your favorite weekend activity? Doing my lawn and gardening.

Name one thing about yourself that most people don't know. I like to do all of my home stuff myself. There are very few things where I'll hire out.

If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be? Hillary Clinton

Name one talent you wish you had. Being multilingual.
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